Members convene to reflect on past, present & set agenda for the future of MenEngage Alliance at the Global Assembly 2024

Members of MenEngage Alliance from around the world gathered virtually for the Global Members’ Assembly from 16-18 April 2024. The Assembly offered a space for members to connect across regions, reflect on the current work, and to have a say on the future direction of MenEngage Alliance.

Building solidarity across regions and contexts

As an international social change network, the vision and mission of MenEngage Alliance depends on the strength of our community. That is why the Organizing Committee—made up of representatives from each regional network—set aside the first day of the three-day event (16 April) for members to connect with each other, to understand each others’ work and contexts, and strengthen our solidarity. Members broke off into small groups to do this, after some opening remarks by Samitha Sugathimala, Global Co-Chair of the Alliance 

Samitha highlighted the importance of being together in the current contexts of rising global backlash against progress made for women’s rights, LGBTQI rights, and gender justice – as well as shrinking space for democracy, freedom of opinion and assembly, and the very notion of human rights.  

This Assembly is quite important for us because we are facing a very crucial time. Coming from the region of South Asia, and I think this is not only for me, we have undergone a lot of hardships, crises, not only in South Asia but across the Globe. (…) But most of all, I think what is most challenging is how patriarchal masculinities have become quite normal around the globe and how this creates a lot of other crisis situations. – Samitha Sugathimala  


The day concluded with a review of the Theory of Change of MenEngage Alliance and a showcase of how one group of members are proactively leading the climate justice agenda of MenEngage Alliance in the form of a Working Group. The Climate Justice Working Group’s members Vidar Vetterfal, Jan Reynders, Sohanur Rahman, Kayinga Muddu and Caterina Lisi shared about various operational aspects of the working group including how the latter is pushing the intersections of masculinities and climate justice to how the working group organizes itself. 

Vidar Vetterfal, Project Manager at MÄN and member of the Climate Justice Working Group  said: 

I do not feel alone any more. We share the same passion. And the group is growing.  For me this is a beautiful example of how the MenEngage Global Alliance can support and be a platform for people’s passions, to find each other, get organized and act together. – Vidar Vetterfal 

Sohan Rahman, Executive Coordinator of YouthNet Global, shared:

It’s crucial to recognize the urgent intersectionality of the climate crisis and gender justice. For too long, patriarchal structures and dominant masculinities norms have perpetuated violence against both humans and nature. We cannot address one without confronting the other, we cannot achieve gender justice, without climate justice. – Sohan Rahman

Reflecting together to foster change and increase our impact

As a network for gender equality and social change, MenEngage Alliance aspires to be led through bottom-up processes. The Members’ Assembly provided a space for this, with  Day 2 set aside for  reflection and collective learning. Through breakout groups, members discussed the current strategic plan of MenEngage Alliance, including what has gone well, what needs improvement, and what new areas of work could be explored. These discussions revolved around but not limited to the four pillars of the Alliance’s Strategic Plan: 

  • strengthening the network and leadership, 
  • raising voices for change, 
  • increasing impact, and 
  • fostering collaboration and allyship.

Sharing back, moving forward

The third and final day of the Assembly gave members a chance to share their insights, ideas and recommendations on the future direction of MenEngage Alliance. Through a plenary session, all participants were able to express their hopes and improvement for our collective work, informing the next Strategic Plan. 

“Members came together online over three days and two separate time zone slots”

Calling for stronger mobilization, democratization, advocacy and systems change

Some of the key take-aways that came from these discussions include calls for: 

  • Stronger mobilizing and galvanizing collaborative actions, including bolder strategies to address anti-gender backlash
  • Stronger focus on feminist systems change and alliance building in dismantling patriarchy and challenging power structures (‘staying true to the cause’)
  • Stronger democratization and inclusivity within our structures and decision making 
  • Better inclusion of grassroots work and voices, including youth leadership and engagement
  • Strengthen networks and leadership for impactful advocacy and programming 

Tricia Basdeo-Gobin, Trinidad and Tobago, Board Member, CariMAN shared:

How are we ensuring accountability in addressing the issues we’ve heard about: lack of funding, systemic changes, barriers, and the growing backlash we’ve been facing? How are we centering all these aspects around accountability and moving forward? – Tricia Basdeo-Gobin

Irene Ogeta from Kenya, Program Officer at the Athena Initiative and member of the Youth Reference Group, shared:

How do we keep each other informed without getting overwhelmed? I think one of the ways we can do this is by harnessing the power of communication tools such as social media, webinars, and organizing forums and assemblies like we are having now., but also at the country networks. We talk about accountability and taking responsibility, so it also trickles down to the country networks before it even gets to the regional and the Global Alliance. We can streamline the process and ensure accountability at every level. Establishing clear communication protocols and designated focal points at the country level can also help us stay informed without getting overwhelmed – Irene Ogeta 

Douglas Mendoza from Nicaragua, Co-Founder of MenEngage Latin America and social educator, shared:

It’s important to continue working on strengthening local work. Because if there’s not local work, local networks, national work then there is not global work – Douglas Mendoza

Members noted several advancements MenEngage Alliance has made collectively, and lessons learnt over the last several years, including:

  • Stronger community building with enhanced communications, messaging and mobilization on various intersecting issues for gender, social and climate justice
  • Collective efforts on developing and generating clarity of our key principles and shared values towards our mission
  • Focus on strengthening our understanding and accountable practices collectively
  • Expansion and strengthening meaningful partnerships and collaborative efforts, especially those that are intersectional and strategic
  • Improved facilitation of dialogues, meetings, and writings in multiple languages
  • Strengthened network infrastructure, with interconnected country, regional, and global network. 

The Assembly concluded with a message of thanks to the Organizing Committee, and gratitude to all of the members for joining. 

The outcomes of the Assembly will be taken forward by the Global Secretariat of MenEngage Alliance, including:

  • Insights will be included in the independent evaluation taking place over the coming months
  • Members inputs will inform the strategic planning process for our next Strategic Plan 2025-28




Written by Caterina Lisi, communications intern at the Global Secretariat of MenEngage Alliance, with support from the Global Secretariat team

21 May 2024